Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

6/27/08

Abortion & The Death Penalty

Did you hear that the Supreme Court says it is unconstitutional to execute someone because they raped a minor?

Kennedy v. Louisiana

I am in agreement with the majority. For me, the death penalty is premeditated murder, no matter how deserving the criminal seems emotionally.

Since I think the state should never willfully kill a confined man, I cannot categorize it further.

Also, all the other problems in capital cases still exist. Racial and economic bias, for starters.

In Illinois, we have found that many of death row were in fact innocent. Over-anxious public and prosecution often loves "a good hanging" here still, and so some men were rushed to be found guilty with questionable evidence. The man seemingly guilty of the rape of a child would be among the most easy in our hearts to kill, with due process appearing on paper but not in truth.

Child rape - apparently this does not include statutory rape.

That nails exactly how I think about abortion. No matter who the father is, no matter who the mother is, it is either morally acceptable, or not. For me, it is not, so if it is two wealthy mid-30 marrieds who just do not want the inconvenient child, or the gang bang rape of an inner city single 15 year-old, or the state or culturally encouraged abortion of an unborn girl in China or India, abortion is not morally acceptable.

I understand I see these two life issues as uncomfortable absolutes, and might be accused of lacking sympathy for the mother (or for the victim's loved ones, in the case of a death penalty situation), but what I feel is not relevant, nor is it in the case of the victimized, as far as the willful cessation of life of another. More sympathy, or even empathy, for victim or criminal should not define morality.

My views on this exist both within my faith, but outside of it as well. That is, they happen to coincide, and could exist without the support of the other.

Arguments against the death penalty in theory, and in practice, should be easy when we look at consistency of application, criminal impact, and racial, cultural and economic bias. How we choose who has the right to kill, and who has earned the cost of life cannot be based on gut, emotion ("What if it were your daughter?" arguments are faulty), skin color, or any other floating standard.

Do we stop here? No. There is much more. The raped child needs tremendous support, as do the victims of other crimes. The unwed mother needs support. The lack of support does not justify the death of a child, or a criminal.
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